Ontario couple cancel honeymoon trip to Barbados after vaccine mix not approved
TORONTO -- An Ontario man says he and his wife cancelled their honeymoon trip to Barbados after the country announced it does not consider people with mixed vaccine regimens fully vaccinated.
Eric Seed said he and his wife postponed their honeymoon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they waited until they were fully vaccinated to start planning the long-awaited trip.
“We booked a nice little vacation for Barbados,” he told Newstalk 1010 on Thursday morning. “We booked it on the 23rd, and on the 25th, they changed the rules saying that if you mix your vaccines … you can't go because they don't consider you fully vaccinated.”
“Prior to the 25th, their rules were similar to everyone else and then they seemed to change everything and pivot.”
On its website, the Barbados Ministry of Tourism outlines its new rules and protocols, which took effect on June 25, saying the country does not recognize people as fully vaccinated if they did not get the same vaccine for both doses.
“In accordance with WHO standard, mixing of vaccine regimens (1st dose of one brand followed by 2nd dose of another which is not a one-dose regimen) is not accepted as complete vaccines regimen,” the document states.
People who are not considered to be fully vaccinated can still visit the country, but they would face stringent restrictions, including a quarantine period of up to eight days instead of one or two.
The World Health Organization's Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said in an online briefing on Monday that she advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers.
In a tweet following her statement during the briefing, Swaminathan said that "individuals should not decide for themselves" to mix vaccine doses, but that "public health agencies can, based on available data."
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization, the body that advises Canadian health officials on vaccines, says it’s safe to mix vaccines, and public heath units across the country have been urging residents to do so.
Seed said he booked through Air Canada, which luckily had a cancellation policy, and so he rebooked the honeymoon for the Dominican Republic instead.
Despite being able to rebook his vacation, Seed said he’s concerned about mixed messaging on the issue, and feels the G20 nations should come together and decide on a concise message on vaccines.
“Everyone is kind of doing their own thing, it's fragmented,” he said.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s working with other countries to make sure rules for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers are consistent.
“We’re going to continue to work with the international community to make sure that people who are fully vaccinated in ways that Canadians recognizes as safe and effective are also recognized around the world,” he said.